Here we are once again, with the market treading water as we await the results of the meeting of the Federal Open Markets Committee (FOMC), or as we usually say, "the Fed". Fed watchers are rather confident we will see another rate increase on Wednesday. As always, the question is whether this interest rate increase is already baked into current market prices, or whether the market pulls back in response. The huge bullish run we have enjoyed since the election last year seems to have flattened out after the Standard and Poors 500 Index (SPX) hit a high of $2396 on March 1st, slowly declining and closing at $2373 yesterday. Trading volume has also dropped off since March 1st, closing at 1.9 billion shares yesterday, well below the 50 day moving average (dma).
The market futures are suggesting a lower open this morning, so it appears this waiting game will continue today, and probably through tomorrow afternoon.
Economic data have been strengthening recently, but the bulk of the market gains are based on expectations of gains yet to be realized: tax reform and trimming of bureaucratic regulations, to name a couple. Will an interest rate hike dampen that enthusiasm?
I was invited to write a chapter on the diagonal spread for a new e-book that was just published. That will make for good reading while we wait on the Fed.